By Connor Lynch
A failed vote to increase the provincial beef check-off at the Beef Farmers of Ontario’s February AGM will mean difficult choices for the organization in the future.
It was a near-miss, with 62 per cent of producers voting in favour of raising the check-off, just below the 66 per cent requirement. But close is no cigar, and the loss of an extra $1.50 per head for the BFO means the organization is going to have to make some hard decisions, said newly-elected president Joe Hill, of Wellington County. The combined provincial and national check-off is $4 per head. The BFO is considering raising the federal check-off by $1.50. If it passes a vote at the board, it will then come to a vote by members at next year’s AGM.
The BFO’s been working on a new strategy over the last year, with a bigger focus on marketing and consumer relations, Hill said. The goal is to “develop new value-added brands,” like the corn-fed beef program. “We’d like to take that model and duplicate some of the successes that it’s had and is continuing to have.”
Funding started then, with the BFO pulling some funds from their reserves to pay for it. The hope was that when the check-off increase passed, income would be flowing in by this time next year to balance things out. The BFO is going to continue with its focus on marketing, since “we did not hear any real, substantial challenge to the strategy,” from its members, Hill said.
To fund the strategy, the organization is going to have to look at what other areas it can cut back on. “It’s not something that we’re looking forward to, but we’re hoping to come out of this more efficient,” said Hill.